1st November 2012
A few weeks ago I remember writing comments on a thread somewhere on Flickr about what appeared to be wonderful images that fitted in nicely with ‘Edgelands’, and myself and Shaun-in-Munich both found them inspirational to the point where we were going to investigate the subject further and perhaps introduce that as a mainstream thread to our work separate from the OCA images we need to produce.
I thought about this for some time, and whilst I liked the appeal of the ‘Edgelands’ style I thought that it was a step too far for me at the moment as I’m still developing an identity as a photographer and something on this scale was perhaps too sophisticated to move to in one go. My thoughts wandered around and around the subject and I eventually came up with a less sophisticated model that I felt more comfortable about and should lead to more developed work as the theme progresses.
We live more and more in a throw-away, consumer led society and the driving force behind this is advertising and sales. We are constantly bombarded with images attempting to seduce us into believing that our lives will not be complete without ‘the latest’, ‘more of’ or ‘replaced’; and by acquiring ‘whatever’ will bring ultimate satisfaction and a better life. The advertising nearly always depicts ‘whatever’ with an image of beautiful people in beautiful or exotic surroundings and always extremely happy because they now own or use ‘whatever’, attempting to lead us into believing our lives will become like the image if only we indulge ourselves in this product, make our lives richer, without explaining we will become financially poorer as a result.
This sort of exposure to images urging us to participate in this dream obviously works, otherwise why continue to spend billions on advertising? But the sad truth is that for the vast majority this dream never comes to fruition and a decided number of people become disenchanted with the product that’s promised so much and dispose of it.
The disposal of these goods leads to the term ‘throw-away-society’ and if that was all it led to, bad though that is, disposal of waste is a growing problem for all western societies, I believe it has led to more than just disposable waste, it’s led to more unwanted, larger items, faster obsolescence and a society that doesn’t appear to care as much about their surroundings and infrastructure.
As a nation we’ve always had to dispose of items and obsolescence is part of development, but the unkempt appearance of many places and spaces is becoming more common than has been the case since World War II. From early history until the great sanitation projects of the C19th cleared things up to improve the health of the nation and civic pride wiped out a lot of the unwholesome areas of the villages, towns and cities we live in, there was always a problem with waste, obsolete items and untidiness. This phenomenon is now returning as budgets for cleaning and disposal decrease and the amount of disposables increases. Along with the reduction of care given to open spaces, both visible and more particularly hidden, has led to an increase in the unkempt appearance of the environment.
I have been looking around at what things are descending to and it sparked thoughts about how some of this decay fitted alongside the ‘Edgelands’ theme and was in itself sometimes beautiful and inspiring; so I took for the title of this body of work to be developed as ‘Unwanted – Obsolete – Unkempt’.
I decided that as this was going to be a continuing project it would be best if I made a separate menu item of it within my OCA Log. It doesn’t necessarily need publishing to all and sundry to look at and so I made the decision that entries under this heading would not be publicised through my normal channels of ‘Twitter’, ‘Facebook’ or ‘Press This’, but leave it for those truly interested in my log to find their own way to it from the menu structure.